Dear Aunty B,
I was shocked at the death of John Ilhan (Crazy John’s) on Tuesday.
I am in my early 40s – almost the exact same age as John Ilhan. I started smoking when I started my business and have also been trying to give up smoking for years. On Tuesday I stopped smoking, came home early from work and went for a long walk.
But by yesterday I worked a 12-hour day, came home, drank too much, and had an illicit cigarette out the back.
John Ilhan was a wake-up call. But I still feel out of control.
What can I do?
It’s obvious. You must work less. The day you worked less, you were in control of your life. You work a 12-hour day? You fall back on bad habits.
What on earth are you working 12-hour days for anyway? That is only acceptable in the first two years of a business when you are getting it on its feet. If you keep it up, it will kill you.
It is essential to look at your management skills. Are you micro-managing? Do you think you are indispensable? Is your business under-resourced? What can you outsource and delegate? Which low profit/high maintenance clients can you sack? Good leadership skills include managing your hours and modeling a good life balance to employees.
And think about this too, David. Business is a stamina game. You have to last the distance. You are probably far more productive working a nine-hour day (8.30 to 5.30) every day and then going home and turning off and focusing on your health.
The latest Census figures released by the ABS show that more than 1.6 million Australians, which is almost a fifth of the workforce, are working almost 50 hours a week.
That is a 10-hour day, say 8.30 to 6.30, five days a week. Add a total hour’s travel to that and many Australians are leaving home at 7.30 and arriving home at 7.30 to 8.00. Do they then have time to unwind, exercise and spend meaningful time with the family?
John Ilhan was a wake-up call for all of us. And it should put all entrepreneurs on notice.
Life is a wonderful gift. Treasure it.
Your Aunty B.